Good Bye House

We did it.  We sold our home.  We’ve moved out and a new, younger family has moved in.

Hennsley HouseLike a lot of families, we’ve moved around a bit.  This means that our children have no particular attachment to the physical space of our family home.  I know of some families that have never moved and really go through a lot of anxious moments when it comes time to sell the family home.

Snow Storm 2010 front of house

When we told our kids we were planning on downsizing, the two college-aged kids we have left were more concerned about losing their bedrooms than the house.

Christmas Stockings

That doesn’t mean we didn’t make a lot of memories in this house.  We have always had wonderful times at the holidays.

Homecoming 2007

And homecomings, proms, and other events have filled our home with fun and laughter and love.

Thanksgiving our kids

Our older children, who never lived in this home, contributed to our memories in this space.

But, it was time to move on.  My goal is to find a space to age in place.  Smaller house.  Fewer bathrooms (I hate cleaning bathrooms).  Smaller yard.  Lower expenses.

I say it is my goal because DSH is taking some time getting to the same place as me with regard to this decision.

He loves yard work.  So we will buy a new home and not a villa or a condo.  (Probably.  I have learned to never say never.)  But, I really want less time spent on yard work and more time spent on checking items off our bucket  lists.

We have moved all of our belongings into storage, and we are living with my sister in her small condo.  A good lesson in downsizing.

Good bye house.

Hello new life.

Posted in Musings | 4 Comments

Snow, More Snow, and a Snow Bunny

A little more than a week ago and a few days after the official start of Spring, we had one of the largest March snowfalls on record in the St. Louis area.

Snow Day 03 24 2013 1

The day before, the temperatures reached nearly 60 degrees.

Snow Day 03 24 2013 2

But, early in the morning, the snow started to fall.

Snow Day 03 24 2013 3

 Once it started falling, it came quickly.

Snow Day 03 24 2013 4

There was lightning and thunder.  Thunder snow!

Snow Day 03 24 2013 5

It was a wet, heavy snow.  Perfect for building snowmen and snow forts.  And tearing down tree limbs.

Snow Day 03 24 2013 6

Hard and heavy to shovel.

Snow Day 03 24 2013 7

We shoveled several times over the two-day period that it lasted.  Over six hours of shoveling snow the first day.  Followed the next day by another couple of hours of shoveling snow.

Snow Day 03 24 2013 8

The snow lasted all day, into the night, and into the next day, too.

Snow Day 03 24 2013 9

Last year at this time, we were already cutting grass and putting in flowers and the garden.

This heavy snowstorm was not considered a blizzard because there were no winds.  Thank goodness for that!

All of this occurred during the week that we were trying to move out of this house.  I can tell you one thing, we will not miss shoveling large driveways nor will we miss cutting a ½-acre yard.

Bunny March 2013

But, we will miss our garden.  This baby bunny survived the snow storm  and was sitting in the garden bed next to a large snow drift waiting for something to eat.

Posted in Food & Home | 2 Comments

Happy 30th Birthday To Our Oldest Baby (Gulp)

In a few days, our oldest daughter, Leah, will celebrate her 30th birthday (or the 5th anniversary of her 25th birthday, as she likes to say).

It is hard to believe that I have been a parent for 30 years.  30 years.  When did I get that old?

Leah as a baby

Leah as a 2-year-old.

I won’t say time flies or it seems like just yesterday or anything like that.

Because there were many periods of parenting that seemed to last FOREVER.  Like the months of no sleep with newborns.  And then the lost sleep once they became teenagers.  Or the years of adolescent angst.  And the high school senior / college kid, “I am an adult now” push to do whatever they wanted even though they continued to rely on us for support.  And housing.  And health care.  And food.  And transportation.  And cell phones.  You know – stuff for which real adults are responsible.

This week as I reminisced about the years living with my strong-willed from birth daughter, I ran across a picture of butterflies.  She is terrified of butterflies.  Why?  Because butterflies are very scary creatures.  Seriously.  So, what did I do?  I sent her the picture of the butterflies that made me think of her.  Because that’s just how I roll.  There is actually a name for this phobia -  mottephobia or lepidopterophobia (not really sure which phobia name is applicable, but it is interesting to learn that this is a phobia experienced by many others).

Another thing I remembered was that when she was little and she was being bad, I would call her a young lady.  Her response was always, “I not a ‘ung lady!”

Leah Senior Recital2 2001

Leah’s senior piano recital.

She was also always very dramatic so her choice of doing Drama as an extracurricular in high school was very appropriate.  She got to do a lot of acting and directing and was also able to use her artistic abilities to paint the drama room with depictions of the various plays they put on while she was there.  The last time I visited the high school, it was nice to see them still painted on the walls.

Leah Nov 25 2005

The day she left home for her new life as a real adult.

She graduated from college and lived with us for only a few short months before moving to another state from where we lived at the time.  She figured out how to manage her life, move to new places, and to develop her career with very little help from us.  I guess that is the goal – to give them the tools they need to be able to live independently once they become “real” adults.

One unique thing about her – every job for which she has ever interviewed, she has received an offer and accepted.  She got a job working for the company for which she interned while in college.  She really wanted a job with a particular health care IT company, and they hired her.  From there, she interviewed with one of their client’s, a health care system, and they hired her.  They had an internal opening for which she interviewed, and they transferred her to it and a new city.  We tell her that she is very lucky to have received job offers for every job for which she has interviewed.  Not many people can say that.

LeahRyan Hawaii

Leah and Ryan got married in Hawaii on St. Patrick’s Day.

Five years ago on St. Patrick’s Day, she married a great guy, too.  I like to tell him that he is my favorite son-in-law.  (He is our only son-in-law.)

It is my hope that they don’t complain about me, too much, as the ugly mother-in-law.  I try to stay out of their business and let them lead their own lives much like I did mine.

We have five beautiful and smart and successful daughters.  We learned a lot with the first one.  I tell her that she was our starter kid.  What we messed up with her, we fixed with the later ones.

Leah Surprise Party Masters Graduation Dec 2012

Leah at her surprise party after she received her Master’s degree.

Happy 30th Birthday, to our beautiful child, Leah!

Posted in Faith & Family | 2 Comments

On Being Awesome and Dedicated Parents

We have five kids.

Raising kids is hard work.

Work that often goes unrewarded.

What other work do you do where you dedicate yourself to it 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for the rest of your life?

Without monetary compensation.  Without raises or bonuses.  Often without kudos, pats on the back, or any other form of positive reinforcement.

Leah

Leah, our oldest daughter.  Strong willed from birth.  I read as many books as I could get my hands on to try to understand how to do this new job of parenting.   I had to learn not to say “no” all the time.  A wise preschool teacher gave me the best advice a parent can get, “catch them being good.”

All without a manual or how-to book.  And, in my case, without the benefit of having had loving, caring parents who were good role models from which I could base my own parenting.  Yes, my parents were role models in what NOT to be as a parent.

Michelle

Michelle, our niece by birth, who came to live with us when she was a teenager.  I call her a survivor.  She is strong.  One of her teachers from grade school told me, off the record, that she would survive because she was “spunky”.

Yes, there are the kisses and hugs and sweet messages when they are young.  Most of this goes away when they hit the middle school and teenage years.  Raising kids through these ages can be tough on the old self-esteem.  And we lived through 16 straight years of having teenagers in our home.

Rachel

Rachel, our middle child, and DSH’s mini-me.  She organized shoes, climbed out of her crib, and stood on top of the piano by the time she was 15 months old.  She comes by her career of choice, engineering, honestly.  Tenacious.  Independent.  Fun loving.

We have five kids.

Five kids with different personalities.  While we have been consistent, we have also had to adjust our parenting strategies with each child to meet their unique personalities and needs.

Katy

Katy, one of our two youngest children, the “older” twin.  Sweet, kind, generous, and affectionate and totally unlike her sisters (just kidding . . . maybe).  The one kid we can always count on to get hugs and kisses.

Jacci

Jacci, our baby, and the younger of our twins.  Strong willed like her oldest sister.  From day one, this child required that you respect her personal space.  She, perhaps, feels the most strongly about family traditions and takes longer to accept change.  Loyal.  Dedicated.  Risk taker.

I have always been a parent filled with self-doubt and with self-esteem issues related to my own upbringing.  When I became a parent, I wanted to do better.  I wanted to raise my kids to be happy, healthy, productive members of society.  I wanted them to be independent and to be able to take care of themselves, but to also enjoy the benefit of having strong relationships if that was their choice.

And, logically, I understood that there would be no extrinsic rewards for being a good parent.  DSH and I know that we have, for the most part, done a good job parenting our children, and, while we aren’t done yet, we are mostly done.  We are at the stage of seeing the results of our nearly 30 years of parenting (gulp).  Yes, we have been parenting more than half our lives!

Yesterday, our youngest daughter, who is studying abroad in Argentina, posted a picture and message on my Facebook page.  I sent her a box of Easter candy and some fruit snacks (one of her favorite things in the world).  She took a picture of it and said, “Coming home to find this Easter package just made my day!  I have some pretty awesome and dedicated parents.”

We have five kids.

We are awesome and dedicated parents.

Note:  The pictures of our girls in this post are those which I have on my phone and which pop up when they call me.  They represent, to me, features of their personalities that I love.

Posted in Musings | 4 Comments

What’s Cookin’ – Spaghetti Salad

It’s been a long, cold, snowy Winter here, but Spring is just around the corner.  I love Spring, Summer, and Fall when you can have large outdoor get togethers with family and friends.  I have a number of recipes that are good for large gatherings and, as I was going through them, I ran across this one for Spaghetti Salad.

It is one of my favorites, and I like it partly because it’s unique – that is, I have never seen anyone else bring this particular salad to a pot luck or get together.  I also love the cold pasta mixed with the crunchiness of the celery and green onions, the tanginess of the Ranch dressing, and the saltiness of a good hard salami.

I received a copy of this recipe from my brother-in-law, Ed, who is quite a good cook.  He makes the best smoked ribs I have ever had in my life anywhere.  We had Thanksgiving at their house a few years ago and had Standing Rib Roast for dinner instead of Turkey.  My sister-in-law, Jana, and Ed aren’t afraid to mix things up like that, and their kids are a lot of fun, too.

So, in hopes that Spring gets here soon, and that we can start having cookouts and family and friends together again, here is Ed’s recipe (with a few of my own tweaks) for Spaghetti Salad.

Spaghetti Salad Ingredients

Spaghetti Salad ingredients.

Spaghetti Salad Step One

Cook the pasta until tender (a few minutes past al dente).  Drain well and toss the warm pasta with half of the dressing.  Chill.

Spaghetti Salad Step Two

Once completely chilled, toss with the remainder of the ingredients except the tomatoes.  Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Spaghetti Salad Ready to Eat

Serve with diced tomatoes on top or dice and mix them into the salad if it is going to be eaten at one sitting.

See my notes at the bottom of the recipe for my substitutions, tips and hints.  I love this!

Yummy!

Posted in Food & Home | Tagged , | 4 Comments

When Your Chicks Leave the Nest

Today, we took our baby to the airport.

She is going to Buenos Aires, Argentina

5,415.2 miles

8,714.0 kilometers

4,702.5 nautical miles

from home

to live for 4 months.

Jacci in tutu

When I think about her I think about this picture. It is one of my favorites.

She is my adventurous child.

Jacci District 10 23 2010

She decided to take up sports in high school.  We were skeptical.  But she ran Cross Country and Track and made it to State meets in both sports.

Skydiving jumpsuit

She has gone skydiving.

Tattoo

She got a tatto (without telling us, read about that here).

Jacci

She’s sassy and strong-willed and smart.

As with most things in her life, we let her make this decision and do the vast majority of work to make it a reality. Truly, she is so sick of paperwork, that she was beginning to think the journey wasn’t worth it.

Growing up is hard sometimes.

But it’s also hard on Mamas and Papas.

When they are little, you can scoop them up when they fall down.  You can fix their boo boos.  You can make things right and protect them and take care of them.

When they grow up and call you far away from home with a problem, it is much harder.  As a parent, the initial instinct is to try to take care of things for them.  But that is not how they learn and grow and become self sufficient adults.

Parents of adult and nearly adult children learn to parent more by listening and advising (very carefully) than by doing.

Our youngest daughter is a risk taker. She is willing to put herself out there and put herself into situations outside of her comfort zone.  In a big way.

Me.  I’ve mostly played it safe.  Followed the rules.  Tried to be a good girl and do the right thing and always err on the side of caution.

I’m proud of myself for raising children who are willing to do more and be more than their Mama.

We hope she has a great adventure living with her Argentine family.

And that she comes home safe to Mama and Papa in a few months.

Postscript – I could have taken a much different tack in writing this post. You see, as children grow up, sometimes they make it easy for you when they leave the nest. Our oldest daughter became so difficult to live with during her senior year in high school, that we were ready to throw her and her things to the curb.  It made it much easier to say good bye when we dropped her off at college.

Our baby was nervous about this adventure.  It was evident in her behavior and words the last few days as we’ve helped her to finalize details to live over 5,000 miles away from home.

I believe that this is God’s way of helping us to let go.  Amen.

Posted in Musings | 2 Comments

Downsizing: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and The Gift of Prom Dresses

About midway through last year, when DSH and I finally decided to Downsize For Real and put our house onto the market, I made a mid-year resolution.

The resolution was that I would remove at least one thing per day from the house.

Some days, I don’t get rid of anything.  But on other days, I get rid of a lot of things.

RRR trashcan

I didn’t want to just start throwing stuff into the trash to end up in a landfill.

We have always tried to be good stewards of our environment.  We have always tried to recycle even when we lived in communities that didn’t support it.  We not only recycle, but we try not to over buy or be wasteful.

RRR symbol

In other words, we have always embraced the ideals of reduce, reuse, and recycle wherever possible.

Our kids have also embraced the concept.  So much, in fact, that our middle child used to save her recyclables when she lived in Indiana and would bring them with her when she came to visit.  She is an environmental engineer after all.

So, I try to go through something every day.  Clean out a drawer.  Clean a closet.  Clean the basement.  We went through all of my kitchen things and came up with enough stuff to almost completely outfit our daughter’s new apartment.

Not only have I saved stuff from ending up in our landfills, but I have made some cash in the process, too.

I sold a bunch of old gold and silver.  It is amazing how much money can be made by selling old jewelry that you no longer wear and silver that you no longer use.

We went through all of our old electronics (monitors, computers, laptops, cell phones, VHS and DVD players, etc.) and sold them back to a recycler (we made a little extra by printing off the detail list and taking the items apart).

We donated a lot of stuff to our local Goodwill resulting in a significant tax deduction.

We’ve sold stuff on Craigslist and have sent stuff to new homes by listing it on Freecycle.  We listed our basketball hoop on Freecycle and a grandmother came and retrieved it for her son and grandson.  She was so happy to get this for them that it really warmed my heart.

I’ve even gotten creative.  Our five girls all took piano lessons and, needless to say, we had a lot of piano trophies.  They wanted to keep a few of the special ones, but we had dozens that they didn’t want to keep so I gave them to a friend who was a piano teacher.

But, by far my most favorite thing that I have passed along have been some of our daughter’s old prom dresses.  Several dresses went to our nieces who are now entering the prom years.  But those that they did not want have also found new homes.

The Metro St. Louis Cinderella Project is a local charity that takes donations of prom dresses and makes them available to young women who might otherwise be unable to attend prom because they are unable to afford to buy a dress for it.  This local charity is part of Seventeen Magazine’s Donate My Dress campaign.

Prom 2009

Our two oldest daughter’s prom picture.

Local area high school counselors refer girls to this program.  According to the website, in 2012, “the Cinderella Project gifted dresses to more than 150 girls . . . In 2013, more than 200 girls have been referred by their schools.”

After these girls select their dresses, the project opens up for sales to other young woman.  Short dresses sell for $29 and long dresses sell for $39.

Homecoming 2007Homecoming and our three youngest girls.

We have been blessed.  All five of our girls attended all of their Homecoming dances in high school.  Sometimes they had dates.  Sometimes they went with groups of friends.

Prom 2011

Our two youngest girls and their senior prom picture.

They all attended prom in their junior and senior years of high school.

And, while we were able to afford to buy them dresses, they were always respectful of buying something that was reasonably priced.  We shopped the clearance and sale racks for future dances.

We never went overboard on hairdos and other expensive accompaniments.

They never went to dances in limousines or stayed at hotels over night.

They even shared and traded dresses and even wore some dresses more than one time.

They had fun attending Homecoming and Prom dances with boyfriends and friends.  And I know that they made lasting memories.

And some of their beautiful dresses have now found homes with other deserving young women.

And that makes this Mama very happy.

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Up North: Where Winter is Welcome

When my sister and her husband moved Up North years ago, I told her that I would only come to visit her in the non-Winter months.  To me, that means May to September because snow can fall at any time in any of the other months of the year.

Up North Towel

That’s what they call it here – Up North.

I am NOT exaggerating.  Winter is like 7 months long Up North.

I am not a fan of ice, cold, and snow.  I lived in Chicago and Boston when I was in my 20s and got my fill of Winter weather.  So, until last year, I had never visited her in the Winter months.

But, last year, I made the trip in February, and I visited in February this year again.

It’s funny to me to hear the folks up here get so excited about Winter and new snow.  The tourist areas don’t close up in the Winter – they just shift to Winter activities.

Where I live, an inch of snow is enough to close all the schools and to strike terror into one and all.  The hint of impending  snow and the grocery store shelves are stripped bare of eggs, bread, and milk, and people don’t venture out unless they have to.

Up North, the people actually complain about the lack of snow and look forward to new snowfalls so that they can do the opposite – go out and participate in a variety of Winter sports and activities.  Skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing.  I have actually seen people out walking and running just like they do in the warmer months.  Except that they have more gear on.

One of my sister’s neighbors stopped by while I was Up North and was talking about her husband going on a 30k cross country skiing event.  It was shortened because the snow was less than expected – only about a foot of new snow.

Minnesota Feb 2013 (3)

Trees just outside the back door.

Even I have to admit, though, that the freshly fallen snow looks beautiful on the large pine trees of the Northwoods.

Minnesota Feb 2013 (1)

Hard to believe that this is the same deck that we sat on a few short months ago when the temperatures were in the 100s.

My sister’s home looks out over a small lake.  You can’t see the lake in the summer because the trees and foliage are so dense.

Minnesota Feb 2013 (2)

A few inches of new snow on the deck rail along with the chili pepper lights.

But, you can see it all Winter long.  We’ve watched dogs and birds walk on the ice.

That’s another thing – the news reports this time of year always include several stories about people and cars going through the ice.  And not because people accidentally drive or walk onto the ice.  Because they intentionally walk and drive onto the ice.

Minnesota Cul-De-Sac 02 2013

The pile of snow in the cul-de-sac where my sister lives.  This pile is smaller than normal, believe it or not, because they haven’t had much snow this year.

We didn’t venture out  much.  We mostly stayed inside.  We cooked and baked.  We made soup and bread and chicken and candy.

Chinese  Dumplings (1)

Chinese Dumplings – ready to cook.

We did make a trip out to the Chinese grocery store and bought the ingredients to make a batch of Chinese Dumplings for Chinese New Year.

Chinese  Dumplings (2)

Chinese Dumplings – ready to eat.

They took a little bit of time, but they weren’t too hard to make.  And they were so good.  Better than any dumplings I have ever eaten before in any Chinese restaurant.  I can’t wait to make them again.

My sister invited her Chinese neighbor over to taste test them, and she gave them two thumbs up.

Valentine's Candy 2013

Valentine’s Day Candy.

I helped my sister make all kinds of candy for Valentine’s Day.  She gave cute little red boxes filled with candies to neighbors, friends, and co-workers.  It is her small way of being nice and giving something back to people who have helped her over the past year.

I have enjoyed this special time with my sister and brother-in-law.

Minnesota 02 2013

The Welcome sign outside my sister’s house.

Even if it means that I am Up North in the dead of Winter.

Posted in Faith & Family | 2 Comments

What’s Cookin’ – Martha’s Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

My friend, Martha, raves about her Chicken Tortilla Soup.  Not only is it easy to make – you use your Crockpot – but she also talks about the fact that all of her grandchildren love it.  I was interested because of these two reasons and also because it is filled with healthy ingredients.

I adapted the original recipe to fit into my 4-quart Crockpot and to accommodate my family’s particular tastes.  I’ve already made this soup several times – it’s perfect for busy weeknights especially since it’s been really cold here - and DSH and our youngest daughter (and pickiest eater) love it!  One night we shared a batch with our youngest daughter’s fellow workers at the pizza parlor.  One of the owners exclaimed, “The Chicken Tortilla Soup was the best I have ever had.”  Good enough feedback for me to want to share the recipe.

I was unable to link back to the original recipe supplied to me by Martha, so I am unable to give proper credit to the original source.  There are tons of great Chicken Tortilla Soup recipes out there, but this one has a permanent spot in our meal rotation.

Tortilla Soup Ingredients

Chicken Tortilla Soup ingredients.  These are common, everyday items available in all grocery stores.

Tortilla Soup Ready to Cook

The most time consuming part of the preparation is dicing the onion.  Basically, you through everything into the pot, add the stock, insert the chicken, cover and cook.  Your home will smell delicious!

Note:  I have a 4 quart Crockpot and the ingredients listed in the recipe that follows completely fills my Crockpot to the top.  If you have a slightly larger Crockpot, you can add additional stock or water.  You will end up with a soup that is a little less thick, but still very good.

Prior to serving, remove chicken, shred with a fork, and return to the soup.  Stir, taste, and add salt to taste.  I use unsalted stock so I needed to add about 1 teaspoon of salt.

Tortilla Soup Ready to Eat

To serve, put some crushed tortilla chips into the bottom of a bowl, add the soup, and top with more crushed chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, and fresh cilantro.

Yummy! 

Posted in Food & Home | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Skin in the Game

DSH and I have similar philosophies with regard to money and finances.  This has given us one less thing to argue about over the years.

Our five girls and their food babies

We both agreed and enforced similar habits with regard to earning and spending money with our children.  First of all, once they reached 16 and earned their driver’s licenses, they were required to get a “real” job.  That is, one where they were scheduled to work, expected to show up on time, and do a job that resulted in earning a paycheck complete with all of the normal deductions.  You know.  Just like an adult.

It didn’t just teach them an appreciation for the value of work, but also a myriad of other things.  One of the things that we didn’t allow was for them to just piss money away on any old thing.  They were expected to save some and to pay some bills – like gas for the car.  They were also able to spend some, too.  They had their own checking and savings accounts and debit cards early on and learned how to manage them.

DSH calls this having “skin in the game.”  He believes that when one has “skin in the game”, i.e. like paying for at least part of their own college expenses, then they will value that thing more and as a result work harder to be successful at it.

Katy with eyebrow piercing

Which leads me to our current issue.  Our rule for going away to college was that you were required to live in campus housing for at least the first two years.  Studies show that students who do this, do better, academically in school.  We, personally, feel that growing into adulthood is something that happens gradually so we loosen the reins gradually, too.  That’s just our approach and not the only one that is successful for sure.

By the third year of college, we expected our kids to be able to pay for their own room and board.  Especially if they intended to live off campus.  We never signed a lease for any of them.  They had to figure out how to make it all work – commuting, laundry, utilities, and now Internet, too.

If they want to act like adults, then they have to learn how to take care of adult things.

I’m getting to our issue.   Really I am.

Tattoo

So, our youngest daughter has signed a lease to live off campus next school year.  She will be a third year student, a junior, and she will be 21 by the time she starts the school year.

She has a job when she is home for the Summer and during school breaks and has more than a little bit of money saved up, but she realizes that she will need to supplement this money in order to not use it all up before the end of the term.

So, she has been looking for jobs in her college town.  On Craigslist.

There are a number of money-making opportunities on Craigslist.  Cleaning a house will get you $425.  I can only imagine the condition that house is in for someone to be willing to pay that sum of money to have it cleaned.

I’ve heard of young women earning a LOT of money as dancers.  Yes.  Dancers in those types of places.  I know someone who has done this, and it has helped her to make rent and meet some unexpected expenses from time to time.

But, the money-making venture that our baby found and has been researching is egg donation.

We aren’t talking chicken eggs here.

We are talking her eggs.  As in my DNA eggs.  And DSH’s DNA, too.

Apparently, college campuses are exactly the perfect spot to find the best egg donors.  Those looking for eggs want to find someone who is attractive and smart.  Seriously, those are two of the main criteria.  They want to meet you to make sure you are attractive, and they want to know your test scores to make sure you meet the intelligence quotient.  The applications also include information on a variety of other topics of interest – your drug and alcohol use, your athletic ability, any hereditary diseases or genetic defects, and on and on.  But, you catch my drift.

I was totally caught off guard and unprepared for this conversation.  When I joke about children not coming with a manual, I wouldn’t even think that this would appear in the table of contents.

Chapter 500 – How to Talk to Your Daughter About Becoming an Egg Donor

After DSH and I realized that she really wasn’t kidding about this, we talked about it.  And we talked about it some more.  And we slept on it.  And then we talked about it some more.

From a financial perspective, the choice is appealing.  The donation of ONE egg will more than pay for an entire year’s worth of rent.

But, my gut reaction, my initial reaction was NO.  Hell, NO.  That’s my DNA in there.  It would be almost like giving away a grandchild.

But here is where I started to struggle with my initial, gut reaction.

I know many wonderful families and parents whose children were born as a result of egg and sperm donations.  I just had never considered the egg and sperm donation from the other side.

That is, the side of the donor.

How is donating an egg different from donating sperm?  My logical side says it shouldn’t matter, but my emotional side says it is.  But maybe that’s just because I am a woman, and I feel some ownership over those eggs, by God!

How is the principle of donating an egg different from giving a child up for adoption, for instance?  My logical side says that providing a loving couple with a child is a good thing, but my emotional side wonders and worries about that potential child who carries part of me within him or her.

I was so unprepared for this conversation.  I was so unprepared for the emotions and questions.

As I thought through the issue, I decided that if I knew the couple or knew of a couple in need I would support it.  It’s more the unknown couple that bothers me.  I guess.

Again, while I’m thinking about that egg in my daughter’s body, I’m also thinking of my friends who have children because of these types of techniques.  Friends who are wonderful, caring parents who were deserving to be parents and were able to because of this technology.

Part of the process involves meeting the prospective parents.  Presumably that is so they can check out our daughter.  After we talked, I asked her if she thought it worked both ways.  That is, will she check them out, too, and if it doesn’t feel right to her would she abandon the idea?  She said that she would.  She said that she already considered that an option.  But, she said it in more colorful language.

Michelle's tattoo

At the end of the day, we have raised our daughter to be able to make adult decisions with regard to her own body and her own finances.  She will make the decision for herself in spite of what we think.  She could make this decision without involving us in the discussion at all.  In other words, she has skin in the game.

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